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Great Tips for Your Fresh Summer Harvest

A participant making her own stir-fry

At this time of year there’s an abundance of fresh local produce available at grocery stores, markets and farm stands. Our second GROW COOK LEARN session of this year, “Fresh Summer Harvest” gave participants many ideas for using this bounty.

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These affordable classes are much more than demonstrations; participants get to cook and, even better, taste! In fact, at the Fresh Summer Harvest session, attendees were cooking with gas (or, more accurately, butane burners) for the stir fry.

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The menu for this class was ambitious and delicious, featuring:

Raspberry Lemonade

Raspberry Lemonade

 

Fresh Summer Salsa

Fresh Summer Salsa

Seasonal Vegetable Stir-Fry with Rice & Optional Tofu

Seasonal Vegetable Stir-Fry with Rice & Optional Tofu

Mixed Berry Parfait

Mixed Berry Parfait

All the recipes are available here.

Instructors share a great many tips at each GROW COOK LEARN session, which are helpful to both beginner and more experienced cooks.

Penny, a seasoned cook who was attending her first session, said one of things she liked about the class was learning techniques new to her, such as using icing sugar to stabilize whipped cream.

whippedcream

 

Nicole, who has a community garden plot, said she’s had trouble dicing onions in the past and appreciated the tip about leaving on the stem end of the onion to help keep it stable while slicing it.

Technique for dicing onions

Some other tips shared at this session were:

  • When using lemons, zest or thinly shave off the rind first and freeze it for recipes where you need lemon zest.
  • When making raspberry syrup, save the pulp that’s left in the strainer to use as a topping for yogourt or ice cream.
  • When removing the seeds and juice from tomatoes (or ‘gutting’ them), save to use in soups, chili and tomato sauce.
  • If you don’t like cilantro, substitute parsley or basil.
  • You can change up the flavour of salsa by substituting diced mango or peaches instead of tomato.
  • When cutting hot pepper such as jalapenos, make sure you don’t touch your face or your eyes before you’ve washed your hands.
  • It’s zucchini season and if you have some large ones or more than you know what to do with, shred them and freeze in bags in the quantity needed for recipes like zucchini bread. When you’re ready to use the zucchini, just thaw and drain first.

berries

Have you been thinking about attending one of these sessions but aren’t sure if it’s for you? If so, you might be interested in what Becky had to say. She likes to bake but didn’t know how to cook. She heard about LCRC and GROW COOK LEARN through a presentation at her workplace, and decided to attend a class. When asked what she liked best about the session, she had this to say:

I liked how it all went together, and feel like I could cook a meal now.

Good recipes, and the opportunity to practice and taste all help build confidence. Do attend a future session to find out for yourself!

salsa

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